Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal in the United States

In a historic opinion on the Obergefell v. Hodges case, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide. This means that all Americans, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, can exercise their right to marry anywhere in the United States.

The Court ruled 5-to-4 that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry under the 14th Amendment and that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. In addition, the Court ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriages validly performed in other states. On this point, the Court stated: "Since same-sex couples may now exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States, there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another state." Under this part of the ruling, same-sex couples lawfully married in one state, such as California, can move to any other state in the U.S. and expect to have their marriage recognized for all purposes, such as state and federal tax benefits, health benefits, and Social Security benefits. State laws that govern family and divorce matters, such as custody rights and responsibilities, property division, and spousal support will now apply equally to opposite-sex and same-sex married couples.